Chelsea boss sticks to rotation despite Frank Lampard nearing record

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 4:05am


Rafael Benitez insists he will continue to rotate Frank Lampard in his Chelsea starting line-up after the midfielder moved to within one goal of the club's all-time scoring record.

Lampard claimed his 201st Chelsea goal from the penalty spot to secure a 2-0 victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after appearing as a 24th minute replacement for the injured Ramires.

The England midfielder has found his starting opportunities limited as Benitez has attempted to manage his squad through a crowded fixture schedule.

With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, time is running out for Lampard to beat Bobby Tambling's mark.

Should Chelsea eliminate Basel in this week's Europa League semi-final second leg, they will have five more fixtures this season.

But Chelsea manager Benitez will not guarantee he will feature in all of them. "Frank is a great player," he said. "I'm pleased he's scored another goal, and hopefully he will score five between now and the end of the season.

"He's a good player with quality. If you're controlling with possession, he can have an influence.

"He's a great professional. He understands the priority is to qualify for the Champions League. He wants to play, but he understands the team is first."

Lampard's introduction lifted Chelsea's performance and the midfielder set up Oscar for the 43rd minute opening goal before converting from the spot in first- half stoppage-time.

The win moved Benitez's side into third place, three points clear of Tottenham who lie fifth. But Benitez believes the battle for a top four finish will continue until the last day of the season.

He added: "I said that, maybe, it will go to the last game. If nothing happens different or special, it could be until the last game against Everton.

"We have to do our job, manage the squad, playing this attacking football that we played in the second half."